5 Ideal Replacements for Alan Hansen on Match of the Day
After 22 years of giving his opinion on the Match of the Day sofa, Alan Hansen is hanging up his microphone and open-neck shirt next summer. "I am contracted to do the World Cup and I will do that as it will be a good way to go out, but I have had a great run," he explained to The Daily Telegraph (via The Guardian).
With the affable Scot vacating the BBC studios, who should step in to replace him? Here's B/R's top five candidates...
Why not upgrade one former Scottish pro for another?
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin is insightful, humorous and articulate enough to teach the viewer something in his analysis. In other words, he's everything MOTD currently lacks.
Some argue that he's a little biased towards the Stamford Bridge side he used to represent, but it's time for Nevin to get a promotion from his bit-part role on MOTD2. After all, he's much better with punditry than he was with taking penalties.
Since guiding Sunderland toward the nether regions of the Premier League with a hopeless brand of football, Martin O'Neill's stock has taken a bit of a tumble.
Thanks to his great work with Leicester and Celtic, however, the Ulsterman is still widely respected as one of the great managerial minds in the game. (This writer is not the only one who thinks he would have made a good England manager.)
O'Neill has graced the BBC couch on several occasions before, most notably during World Cup and European Championship tournaments. Although often a little dry, his analytical thinking is usually spot-on—as one would expect from a man with a passion for criminology.
MOTD threw the dice by casting Danny Murphy alongside "senior pundit" Alan Shearer, and the move definitely paid off.
The former Liverpool man was well received on his Saturday evening debut, having previously put in some solid performances in some of the other BBC properties.
He is resoundingly positive, articulate, fast-talking and fresh from his playing career, which may mean he is more in touch with the nuances of the Premier League than the dinosaurs around him. Murphy is well on the way to earning the job full-time.
As a former Liverpool and Newcastle player, Didi Hamman already meets one of the requisite requirements to sit on the MOTD couch.
The German has fulfilled a similar role on RTE Sport and has also cropped up on Sky and MOTD2 in the past few years. Like Murphy, he is confident and opinionated, and he comes across as a man who knows what he is talking about.
For much of its existence, Match of the Day has relied on a cast of former players and managers to provide its colour. After all, they should be able to offer more insight than us mere mortals, right?
Instead of picking the men whose primary job has been kicking a ball, what if they went with someone who writes about the game on a daily basis, and whose job it is to convey expert opinion in an eloquent manner? Recruiting a journalist might be the push that MOTD needs to make itself stand out among the football analysis TV shows.
The Times' Henry Winter would be a top choice, as he is always good value on Sunday Supplement. Other good journalist choices may include Gabriele Marcotti, Barry Glendenning or Jonathan Wilson. And for a higher level of tactical discussion, they could do much worse than Zonal Marking's Michael Cox.
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